CFC Supports SB 1106 (Yee) – Labeling of Free Drug Samples

Bill Status: SB 1106 passed the Senate by a vote of 25-6 on April 22, and the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee by a vote of 5-2, with 2 abstaining, on March 22nd, 2010. The bill now moves to Senate Appropriations.

CFC Position:

Bill Details: With the rising cost of prescription drugs and the ongoing health care coverage crisis, the prevalent use of free sample prescription drugs has drawn increased scrutiny. The oversight of sample prescription drugs is often incomplete or non-existent, which has resulted in patients receiving drugs with inadequate information regarding dosing schedule, side effects, and potential drug interactions.

SB 1106 (Yee) would require sample prescription drugs received at a doctor’s offices or medical clinic to be accompanied with the same written information regarding the drugs that would normally be received from a pharmacist.

A study conducted by the Journal of Family Practice found that instructions accompanied the dispensing of sample drugs only 47.8 percent of the time and were predominantly verbal in nature.

The study states, ‘Dosing appeared to be the main focus, and little to no attention was given to more detailed information, such as whether the medication should be taken with meals. Drug interactions were not routinely discussed.’

As the use of sample prescription drugs continues to rise, the need for consumers to have basic health and safety information on those drugs has never been greater. There’s no reason why patients who get sample drugs at a doctor’s office should be less informed than if they filled a prescription at any licensed pharmacy.

SB 1106 could potentially save lives while reducing lawsuits and illnesses since consumers will have the benefit of all relevant information at their disposal when they receive sample drugs from their doctors.

Sample prescription drugs carry all the same risks and potential side effects as traditional pharmacy-filled prescriptions. With studies showing an increased reliance on sample drugs for treatment, consumers need the information that this bill would require drug companies to provide.

CFC believes its vital that consumers receive written information regarding dosage and potential side effects on sample drugs.

For these reasons we urge support for SB 1106.